I wasn’t always the geeky math type lol. I spent most of my high school days playing guitar and chasing girls. And even though that hasn’t changed much, it was my ninth grade science teacher, Jon Myers, who would ultimately change my life forever. He was able to see something in me that I didn’t even know was there and he knew how to bring it out.
Mr. Myers was teaching us how to balance chemical formulas and after a couple of days of having us work on a few exercises, he kept me after class to see if he could challenge me. I’m not sure exactly why he did this, or how he knew that I might be capable of performing the task he was about to set forth. But, he went to his desk and pulled out his college organic chemistry book and proceeded to write out a chemical formula that spanned across two black boards. He told me to take my time and work the problem out. He then contacted the teacher of my next class so that I would not be counted late or absent.
I never really considered myself a mathematician. I didn’t even know I had a knack for solving mathematical problems. I was just a long haired kid who played heavy metal on the guitar. I spent most of my time with my girlfriend and thought very little about mathematics. But in that moment while staring at this enormous problem, I realized that I could somehow see the answer. Without hesitation, I walked up to the black board and wrote out the correct solution.
I was a little bewildered by Jon’s amazement when seeing that I had solved the problem. But, I did not use any paper or a calculator to find the solution. I managed to balance the formula within my head which only took me about seven seconds to solve. He explained to me that my ability was a gift and from that moment on I spent more time solving mathematical problems than playing music on my guitar. I probably should’ve substituted the time I spent with my girlfriend instead of the time I used to play music, but that is another story altogether.
I don’t claim to be a genius, prodigy, or anything of the sort. I just have a talent for mathematics which grew into a love for the subject. If it wasn’t for Mr. Myers, I would’ve never known about that hidden gift which enabled me to enjoy a wonderful career as a software engineer and discover many mathematical equations, some which might actually be new. I am currently pursuing a degree in Physics and I owe it all to him.